As the holiday season approaches, we often take time to reflect on our lives. Introspection is a vital part of mental health—it makes us consider ourselves in the context of the lives of others and the community around us.
Thanksgiving is this week, so this time of year, it’s particularly common to think about the things for which we are grateful. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful and the understanding of what you find valuable.
What are we grateful for? It’s common for people to be grateful for the people, places, and things around us, from family and friends to PBJ Connections and horses like Rocky. It’s important to remember what items or luxuries you may have that other people do not, like a roof over your head and a safe place to sleep. By embracing this gratitude, we are more likely to take steps to help others, but also we become more able to understand their perspective on the world. If someone lacks something you take for granted, they may experience emotions you don’t typically feel.
Sometimes we can be grateful for more abstract concepts like experiences and feelings. You may be grateful for some of the obstacles in your life, because you learned valuable lessons by overcoming them. You may be grateful to have a certain memory of a special time or place that you no longer can experience. In this way, gratitude can help us cope with loss and grief by reminding us what we are thankful for, even if it’s gone.
Gratitude is shown to improve our mental health. It can help us better understand other people’s points of view and thus help us better empathize with their hardships. Importantly, we can also grow our own self-esteem by practicing mindful gratitude, because we feel better about ourselves when we realize that we have things to be thankful for.
It’s important to show your gratitude, too. With the holidays nearing, you may find more ways to show the people you care about that you’re grateful for them. We can show PBJ Connections that we’re grateful by attending events like Rocky’s Olde Fashioned Christmas Party. Sometimes it’s easy though; we can show our family that we are grateful simply by showing up and listening them.
When you sit down for Thanksgiving or when you reflect quietly on your own, think about what you are grateful for. Why do you value this thing? Your answer can help you better understand yourself.
If you haven’t been feeling grateful lately, try taking five minutes a day to write down what you are grateful for. You will be amazed at how much your viewpoint can change by focusing on the good.